Thursday, January 11, 2007
"Is it OK for married men or women to have social relationships with members of the opposite sex? Can I be friends with someone I know from work? I am not attracted to this person and he is not attracted to me. So this is not like an affair. Just a friendship. What do you think?"
People plant hedges around their property to provide a physical boundary that makes it difficult to cross from one area to another. Hedges also communicate a non-verbal message to other that says, “This is our space, please do not come in.” Our marriages need hedges as well.
Billy Graham has made it a life-long practice to never be alone with another woman that is not his wife. Any time he was talking with his secretary, he’d leave the door open. Any time he went to speak somewhere, he specifically requested to be picked up at the airport by another man. Bottom line—he is never alone with another woman other then his wife, Ruth. And while some might think this is too radical of an approach, you have to admit there can be no question of his integrity or his intentions.
Here’s the deal: While there may be no attraction at this time, were you to be struggling in your marriage at some time in the future, there’s no way to say there would not be an attraction that develops. If we want to protect our marriages, we have to be proactive, rather than simply reactive. In my mind, that means being purposeful about avoiding friendships with those of the opposite sex once we are married (and starting to back away from any opposite-sex friendships once we’re engaged to be married). For further reading, I suggest Jerry B. Jenkins book, Hedges: Loving Your Marriage Enough to Protect It.
Do you have a question for Christian Counselor Greg Wells? Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions will be handled confidentially!
Coming Next Week: What happens when you love your fiance... but your parents don't!
Greg Wells is the Director of Counseling Services at 121 Community Church and the counselor at 121 Counseling Services. An ordained minister, Greg is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife have been married for eleven years, and work together raising their two daughters. Greg counsels on variety of issues, including trauma/abuse and intimacy in marriage.
You can contact Greg directly at: email@example.com.
(Photo by W2 a-w-f-i-l; see http://flickr.com/photos/w2/37871123/ for restrictions.)